Growing your own food promotes sharing and learning. You are quite likely going to grow more than you can manage at one time but that is also the fun of it... you can give food away! The tomatoes shown below are ones I grew but the Calabash type ones are from Pat and Lloyd Stamp at Ashcreek Pottery.
Today's dominant, or main stream agriculture has some issues that threaten our sustainability as a people and a planet. They rely on synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, large amounts of water, major transportation systems and factory-style practices for raising livestock and crops. Now, more than ever, we read in the media how there are new antibiotic resistant bacteria, mad cow disease and large-scale outbreaks of potentially deadly e.coli. Last year we saw e.coli recalls when it was found to be present in foods like spinach and strawberries. Personally I think that the pressure at the higher levels will push BIG agriculture and we will see improvements in how our food is being raised and marketed. It is going to take some time though. Most of all it will be directed by you! You vote with your dollars every time you shop.
Talking about food from this perspective is highly political but it really has to be done. Over the past two years I have seen huge changes in the ways that people are buying, raising and preserving foods. There is a Victory Garden revival on the go and there seems to be no end in sight. You can buy an eglu to raise chickens easily and hygenically in your backyard. Our new high school in South River might be built with a greenhouse and garden plots. Too cool for school. Not so!
Eating well within 100 miles (160 kilometers) will help reduce your carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide (C02) and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full cycle of a product or service.
Checking your food odometer will help reduce how far food travels to greet your plate. Use fewer food miles.
Join the Near North Locavores who embrace the practice of eating locally. Wikipedia says the word "locavore" was first introduced on the occasion of World Environment Day in 2005 by a group of citizens in the San Francisco area to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested from within a 100 mile radius.
My friends Sherry and Yan down the road at the Piebird B & B say they are eating a 100 metre diet! One they grow themselves! Local is the new organic according to David Szuki and has great power to heal and protect the planet.
I was able to calculate my 100 mile radius . The radius goes south to Orillia, west to the North Channel of Lake Huron and into Sudbury and the Blizzard Valley. North it stretches up to New Liskeard and the Little Claybelt and into Ville Marie, Quebec and due east we go past South Temiskaming also in Quebec.
Why try to eat a 100 mile diet? Well first of all you can taste the difference and discover more about what you are eating. Fresh food is higher in nutrients - assuming you store it well. It is also a chance to visit local farms and support and build a local food economy. Teach yourself, friends and family new skills and improve your health. Share your food ways. Canada is a collection of immigrants - I say that recognizing that the First Nation peoples were here first. Wild food ways will have to be a totally different blog as the native Ojibway around where I live have a history of getting food, tea and medicine out of the bush. I encourage you to get in touch with the seasons. Return to the SLOW foods movement (i.e., sustainable, seasonal, local, organic and wild).
In my next post I will talk about how to access local food where we live in north eastern Ontario. Not everyone that reads this blog is from here but the tips are transferable to where you live.
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc
Visit me at www.chapmanslanding.com
for course information, menus and registration.